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HISTORY                                    97

the Rathors of the west, where Maldeo, chief of Jodhpur, had become
the strongest of all the Rajput rulers. The struggle which began soon
after Babar's death, between Humayun and the Pathan Sher Shah, had
relaxed the pressure of the Delhi power upon the clans from this side,
and Maldeo greatly increased in wealth and territory. In 1544 he was
attacked by Sher Shah in great force, but gave him such a bloody
reception near Ajmer that the Pathan abandoned further advance into
the Rathor country, and turned southward through Mewar into Bundel-
khand, where he was killed before the fort of Kalinjar. It is clear that
the victory at Khanua extinguished the last chance which the Rajputs
ever had of regaining their ancient dominions in the rich plains of
India. It was fatal to them, not only because it broke the war-power
of their one able leader, but because it enabled the victor to lay out the
foundations of the Mughal empire. A firmly consolidated government
surrounding Rajputana necessarily put an end to the expansion, and
gradually to the independence, of the clans; and thus the death of
Humayun in 1556 marks a decisive era in their history.

The emperor Akbar, shortly after his accession, attacked Maldeo,
the Rathor chief, recovered from him Ajmer and several "other impor-
tant places, and forced him to acknowledge his sovereignty. He then
undertook to settle the whole region systematically. Chitor was again
besieged and taken, with the usual gr&ndjina/e of a sortie and massacre
of the defenders. Udaipur was occupied, and though the Sesodias
did not formally submit, they were reduced to guerrilla warfare in the
Aravallis. In the east, the chief of the Kachwahas at Amber had
entered the imperial service, while the Chauhans of Biindi were over-
awed or conciliated. They surrendered the fort of Ranthambhor, the
key to their country, and were brought with the rest within the pale of
the empire. Akbar took to wife the daughters of two great Rajput
houses; he gave the chiefs or their brethren high rank in his armies,
sent them with their contingents to command on distant frontiers, and
succeeded in enlisting the Rajputs generally (save the Sesodias) not
only as tributaries but as adherents. After him Jahanglr made Ajmer
his head-quarters, whence he intended to march in person against the
Sesodias who had defeated his generals in Mewar; and here at last he
received, in 1614, the submission of Rana Amar Singh of Udaipur,
who, however, did not present himself in person. But though the
Ranas never attended the Mughal court, they sent henceforward their
regular contingent to the imperial army, and the ties of political associa-
tion were drawn closer in several ways. The Rajput chiefs constantly
entered the imperial service as governors and generals (there are said
to have been at one time forty-seven Rajput mounted contingents), and
the headlong charges of their cavalry became famous in the wars of the
empire. Both Jahangir and Shah Jahan were sons of Rajput mothers,